Hi, my name is Bret and I’m addicted to Hope-ium.

(here’s where y’all greet me)

Like Talia, I’ve the tendency to hit SEND too soon and while she referred to it as a disease or a toxic love, I find myself thinking of it as a drug: Hope-ium.

Let me tell you about my addiction with a recent example of how this vice has played out in my life. I started querying my latest project about a month or so ago and I’d forgotten what a wild high (and crashing low) Hope-ium provides.

There came a point in early May where I saw the light at the end of the tunnel with this manuscript. It’d gotten a lot of beta reads and some professional help. There were still some open items, but they were matters of execution, not of resolving issues. People were hinting that they had good feelings on this one. Best of all: I felt better about this book going out into the world than anything I’d done before.

This, folks, was the first sweet taste of Hope-ium. In my imagination, agents were clamoring over it. Bidding wars between publishing houses. Book deals by June.

And the high only ticked up-Up-UP as I put together my query letter and identified the lucky agents of the first round. Of course, I tried to force myself to be humble. I tried really hard to have realistic expectations. These things can take months or years. Far more rejections will come in than offers. Blah. Blah. Blah.

HA! I was flying on the Hope-ium rocket and there wasn’t a dose of theoretical realism big enough to bring me down.

At the very tail end of May, I did it. I pressed SEND. Now it’s interesting to note, the biggest Hope-ium high didn’t come at the moment of actually hitting the button. After all, I knew it’d take a day or even a week (*gasp*) for some of these agents to get deep enough into their email to request the full manuscript. And, sure enough, a few requests for fulls came in over the next week. I knew that it was just a matter of time. A game of which agent could read the quickest.

I was so excited I could barely eat. That, in retrospect, was the highest of the highs.

But with Hope-ium’s lofty highs, come some gnarly come downs.

The first dose of true, sobering reality came in the form of a nice, short, and personal rejection from a respectable agent. There was a form one quickly after that. These didn’t dissuade me too much…after all, I had a ridiculous amount of Hope-ium pumping through me.

Plus, as an experienced junkie, I knew how to combat these minor blips. I sent out another couple queries, effectively wiping clean the reality with a controlled intake of Hope-ium. 

Then came a rejection on a full from one of my top picks. I’ll admit it was a big slap. However bruised, the Hope-ium numbed me enough to carry on. After all, there were other agents with fulls. Surely, one of them would see the truth.

Then there was silence…well, silence if you don’t count the sound of me hitting refresh a million times. I couldn’t understand what was taking so long. The Hope-ium was still in me, but it was starting to wear. I needed another hit. I even began to think that the waiting was harder than the getting rejected. I was wrong.

Out of the inbox came another “almost, but not quite” rejection on a full read from an agent I adored. My reaction? It was bad. Cold turkey bad. But like other such situations, I crawled out of it. There was enough Hope-ium left (in the form of outstanding queries) to keep me alive. The Muses helped too, sending me emails and texts that I was able to boil into a little more of the good drug.

Slowly, my mood started back up the hill. But slower this time. More requests came in. More rejections too. More queries went out. Which is where I am now…waiting again. Nowhere near the top of my euphoria and nowhere near the pit. The ups and downs still there, but the amplitude is dampened.

So why am I telling you all this if I’m still somewhere in the murky middle of the querying process? Why reveal this amount of my craziness to the world-at-large?

First, I’m a Hope-ium addict and will always be one. Admitting this out loud is a baby step towards dealing with my vice. Second, I am who I am and that’s not going to change much. Understanding this isn’t an excuse to behave like a maniac every time I press SEND, but it does give me just enough self-awareness to know that I’ll survive this roller coaster no matter where it ends. And finally, I guess I confessed this because deep down I think there are others out there who are as crazy as I am…hooked on Hope-ium and worried they’ll break the internet by refreshing it too often.

Or at least I hope I’m not alone.


Hang in there, Bret! I went through this exact same process from the end of November to January. Hopeium is powerful. On the other hand, I got to the point where if I,wasn't getting rejections, I,would go into withdrawals. If I learned one thing, it's that we can't predict how things will happen, or who will connect with a manuscript. Hang onto your Hopeium. You deserve every good thing at the end of the querying rainbow!

You are not alone! Hang on to the hope.

Little known fact: Thin Mint ice cream contains minute traces of Hope-ium.

I just want to add that the addiction to Hope-ium doesn't stop with querying. It is even more powerful during submissions to editors, and I think I am near catatonic when a book comes out.


But then the highs and the lows pass and I go back to my computer and open a WORD document and start another writing marathon fueled by caffiene and a much more manageable amount of hope.

If you ever decide to open a Hope-ium den, I'll come join you.

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